Cotton ball science in preschool

Yesterday, I shared with you how we began our exploration of cotton balls by turning cotton balls into a snowball blizzard. While some of our students were having fun in our cotton ball blizzard in a box, others were over at the table exploring cotton ball science…

Cotton Ball Science by Teach Preschool

This process was a wonderful discovery of absorption, color, weight, floating, sinking, as well as intriguing sensory play for my students.  However, an important part of this process is how we began our class exploration of cotton ball science…

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

One of my students was washing his hands and then he decided to wash all the paint brushes.  After a few more minutes of finding other things to wash, I stopped by and mentioned that leaving the water on for so long actually tends to waste water but if he would like to play in some water, I could see what we could do. “Yes” he said – so I scrounged up a deep pan and we filled it up with a little water and set it on the open table…

“Now what am I supposed to do with it?” he asked.

“Well, what would you like to do with it?”

“Can I put some paint in the water?”

“Sure, what color would you like?

“Red and Yellow.”

After paint had been added I set out a few droppers for him to play.

“Can I add something else?” he said.

“Sure, we have lots of cotton balls over there in the box. How about cotton balls?’

And with that our cotton ball science began…

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

It didn’t take long before others chose to join in and so we added a second pan of water to accommodate the group…

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

The children used the droppers to add color to the cotton balls then decided they would like to drop the cotton balls into the pan. As the children played, I watched and asked a few questions along the way such as, “What is happening to the water?”  and “What is happening to the cotton ball?” and “What happened to our color?”…

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

The children continued to explore their cotton ball science for most of the morning. Along the way, the water was dumped out so the children could begin again and more paint and more cotton balls were requested and added…

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

Throughout the morning, our cotton ball science led to a lengthy discussion on absorption and we compared our cotton balls to clouds and the rain…

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

As our morning came to a close, I asked the children to wring all the water out of the cotton balls and as the children wrung out the water, a new discussion on color and size and absorption was started.  “Look how much water your cotton ball has absorbed” and “What does absorption mean?” 

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

I hope you have enjoyed our cotton ball science as much as we did and I hope you were able to see how this process began by following a child’s interest…

Cotton ball science by Teach Preschool

I am still practicing the teaching skill of tuning in and following a child’s interest but I have to say, the results of following a child’s interest can lead to a fascinating process with deep and meaningful conversations…

cotton ball snowballs 200

Available on Amazon

By |2013-01-05T23:45:33+00:00January 5th, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Ruth January 6, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply


    I so enjoy reading about your activities in Preschool – I am also a Preschool teacher and I have used several of your ideas. They are Awesome!!

    Thank you for inspiring me to continue to provide exciting learning activities for our children.

  2. Mary January 6, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    Great Science Project for children. Thank you for sharing all activitie, they are all helpful for keeping the children engaged, and learning so much.

Leave A Comment

This site uses 'cookies' to give you the best, most relevant experience. Using the website means you're OK with this. Ok